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Arthropod borne viral infections: current status and research: The Eighth Sir Dorabji Tata Symposium.

Arthropod borne viral infections: current status and research: The Eighth Sir Dorabji Tata Symposium, D. Raghunath, C. Durga Rao, editors (Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Co. Ltd., New Delhi) 2008. Pages: 430. Price: not quoted.

The proceedings of the 8th Sir Dorabji Tata Symposium on "Arthropod borne viral infections: current status and research" held at Bangalore in March 2008, are a compilation of 26 papers presented at the These presentations unfold various aspects of arboviruses of human health importance, with the thrust on dengue virus. The other viruses covered were Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Chandipura virus, Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) virus, Alphaviruses and Jest Nile virus (WNV).

There are two keynote addresses in the symposium at the foreground of the book. The first titled "Arthropod borne viral infections in India", by EL. Joshi recalls epidemics of arboviruses as grim reminders of the explosive nature of the outbreaks caused by these viruses, complexity of their transmission cycles, and the commonly known risk factors which intensify the magnitude of the problems and their control. Perhaps, arboviruses known to be causing diseases in India is overestimated projection of the arbovirus problem. The address though is a brief update on the extent of arboviral problem in India, a focused and condensed version would have been better.

The second keynote address on "The 20th century re-emergence of arboviral diseases: lessons learned and prospects for the future" by D.J. Gubler highlights the importance of improved understanding of the natural history of vector borne diseases which led the successful prevention and control of vectors and diseases by 1960s. The address points out the effectiveness of vaccination and vector control which could control Yellow fever (YF) epidemics in Africa and the America during 1950s-1970s, but more importantly, it cautioned that the threat of YF in Asia-Pacific due to misdiagnosis of cases clinically resembling DHF, leptospirosis, rickettsiosis, hunt a virus or malaria may allow YF to establish and spread in the region. A very useful article for public health managers and researchers as well.

The contents, style, and the force of expression linking scientific facts are commendable of articles on "West Nile virus: The American story", by Roger S. Nasei and "Alphaviruses of the new world: natural history on the equine encephalitides" by Ann M. Powers. R.S. Nasci has been concise in his presentation, focusing on epidemiology, epizootiology and ecology of West Nile virus. Starting from the origin, in its African home, he has traced the route of the spread of WNV to northern parts of Africa, the Middle East, Israel and the USA. While focusing on the rapid, in-country, spread of the virus within the United States of America, he also highlights its pathophysiology in humans, epizootics in animals, and the occurrence of human cases across the country. Ann M. Power has precisely shown the importance of alphaviuses to public health in the new world. It is noteworthy that the occurrence of limited number of human cases has been ascribed to the vector's "no human biting predisposition,', perhaps, from entomological standpoint, a situation akin to that of JE infection transmitted by zoophilic eulicine vector mosquitoes in India.

The article on classification and characteristics of arboviruses provides an opportunity to young researchers to learn the basics in arboviruses. The issues like classification, morphology, genomic organization, replication strategies, and public health importance have been well explained, though a little more elaborately. The article on "Spread of Aedes aegypti in the western region of India" appears thought provoking. The paper by Sharma et al (2004) has, however, been misquoted (p.69, line 6) this work was done at Thiruvananthapuram airport and not at Railway station, as stated. Chikungunya and dengue viruses have taken a strong foothold in the State of Kerala and B.K. Tyagi's paper on Aedes aegypti and Ae.albopictus in Kerala providing basic description of the ecology in relation to Aedes breeding, is relevant from vector management standpoint. The text could have been reduced and edited to make it like a scientific paper.

U.C. Chaturvedi and Prida Malarit have given an excellent account of the immnopathology of DHF. The role of supressor/regulatory T cells, clinical manifestation of dengue infection, and the course of events that follow consequent upon infection, have been described. A. Basu and K. Ghosh have briefly presented the factors involved in platelet-dysfunctions associated with dengue infection. They have shown the ultrastructural changes that occur in platelets exposed to dengue 2 virus, however, they have also admitted our poor understanding of the interaction of dengue viruses with platelets. S. Nimmannitya's paper on clinical spectrum of dengue fever and DHF is informative. Diagnosis, differential diagnosis and management of DF and DHF cases have been extensively described. Noteworthy feature is that pathophysiology and pathogensis have also occupied equal space in the chapter. The article on molecular epidemiology of dengue in Delhi is descriptive; recounting mainly the number of cases due to various serotypes detected in different parts of the country during outbreaks. Serotype replacements over the years needs explanation by research. S.J. Thomas's article updating research on vaccine development is useful and informative.

Two papers on Kyasanur forest disease give a lucid account of the history of KFD, tick-host relationship and the disease transmission in dynamics. Rajagopalan has given a good insight into the problem of KFD ecology, though documented on many occasions, but his incisive way of dissecting events that might have led to the first and subsequent outbreaks of KFD is worth a chapter in a book. However, if the two papers on KFD were merged into one, it would have drawn attention of epidemiologists and vector control specialists.

A.C. Mishra gives a readable account of the serosurvey of encephalitis outbreak labelled as Chandipura virus outbreak in Andhra Pradesh, even though entomological and epidemiological evidences were inadequate. D. Chattopadhyay's article on "RNA-protein interactions in Chandipura virus life cycle" is interesting and useful for researchers working on the biochemistry and molecular biology of this virus. Nagabhushana Rao in his article on description of the clinical features of JE precisely explains the causes of encephalopathy, encephalitis and differential diagnosis. Brain pathology due to JEV invasion has been nicely depicted. This chapter with 67 references is an excellent review.

V.D. Krishna and colleagues have described the immune response induced by JEV E-protein in serum and peripheral blood monocular cells among convalescing JE patients and healthy protected individuals, lt is a well thought out article from an Indian perspective. R. Manjunath's article on JEV - mediated MHC regulation is a good resource for researchers in the field of JEV immunology as it reports outcome of experimentations done on mice. K. Bharati and S. Vrati's article has described and differentiated 3 types of JE vaccines available highlighting recent developments in JE vaccines, reviewing the four types under development.

D.T Mourya provides an updated list of JEV isolations from 19 species of mosquitoes in India. The innoculum size and its relationship to clinical and sub-clinical spectrum of the disease is noteworthy feature of the presentation. The author mentions two peaks of abundance of JE vector Culex tritaeniorhynchus in northern region, if northern region refers to northern India then both the peak periods mentioned (May-June and November-March) are incorrect, as these are the two lowest density periods.

Polly Roy's presentation is good but a lengthy article, perhaps may attract researchers to choose this promising area of molecular structure of arboviruses to guide vaccine development.

Overall, it is a good compilation of papers on diverse issues. Perhaps, 430 pages could have been reduced to 250 pages by appropriately balancing the proportionate length of each chapter. The mistakes in grammar, language and the textual distensions not conforming to the international standards of scientific writings could have been avoided. Some of the glaring editorial slipups include faded and poorly visible figures e.g., Fig 12 (p.13), Fig 2 (p.21), Fig. 4. (p23), Fig.5 (p.24), Fig.9. (p.30), and some others.

V.K. Saxena

National Institute of

Communicable Diseases

22 Sham Nath Marg

Delhi 110 054, India
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Author:Saxena, V.K.
Publication:Indian Journal of Medical Research
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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